A basement can be a dark and dreary space in a home.

Not ours! Not anymore!

Dave and I have been working on transforming our basement from a cluttered storage area to a functional art studio. We are choosing bright—very bright!—colors to go along with a bohemian-inspired theme.

Colorful sign made from fence picketsWe started with our laundry room renovation earlier this year and a patchwork quilt wall treatment made from fence boards. Then we created this funky sign from pallet wood.

We decided to extend those crazy colors into the hallway, which we painted hot pink, purple, yellow, orange and lime green.

(It’s our basement. We can paint it hot pink, purple, yellow, orange and lime green if we want to!)

As you walk down the stairs to enter our basement, you see a wall we painted turquoise. The wall is so big, it really needed a focal point. It was the perfect spot for another mantel!

I’m really into mantels right now.

(That might be a bit of an understatement.)

There’s no fireplace in our living room, so we installed a vintage mantel.

living room mantelThen there’s the mantel we made into a china cabinet in our dining room. We put a mirror behind it and added shelves for my dish collection.

china cabinet made from old mantelThen I had a neat idea to use a mantel to frame the desk in our office/library. It took a bit, but I found the perfect mantel and a desk that was the exact size to fit.

vintage fireplace mantel used around deskI also have an idea to make a mantel into a headboard for the guest room, but first we have to finish the basement!

Here’s the mantel we choose for the art studio entrance.

basement mantle_beforeThe old paint was peeling and I loved the look, but it made a mess. The first step was to spray the entire piece with polycrylic to seal the paint in place and prevent the chips from falling all over the floor.

We cut more fence boards to fit inside the mantel’s insert. Then we watered down our leftover hallway paint to create a softer color wash on the boards. We added the same boards from the top of the mantel to the ceiling to extend the look all the way up. We framed it with tobacco lath.

basement mantle_progress photo1Next, Dave built a small shelf and attached molding across it to create a magazine rack. I do love my decorating magazines! He added more molding across the bottom to create a book rack for childrens’ books so our grandchildren will know just where to grab a book when they come over.

basement mantle_closeupWe did one more thing to the mantel. The top of it was really ugly. We layered paint and glue to get a crackled look to match the rest of the piece. We did the same technique on the shelves and molding to give the mantel a cohesive look.

mantle crackle paint closeup

Here it is! Our boho mantel/ art studio entrance/ focal point/ magazine and book rack!

basement mantle_final1

basement mantle_final2I’m not 100% finished with this project yet. I want to add a mirror over the mantel and paint it turquoise. I just need to find the right mirror. Luckily, I know where to look first. We have a nice stash of mirrors in our upstairs treasure hunter’s attic at All Things New Again in Leesburg!

I also need to figure out how to decorate the mantel shelf. I’m stumped, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

If anybody has any suggestions for that space, please let me know in the comments section. I would love to hear your ideas.

~ Cathy


All Things New Again is a family-owned furniture and paint boutique in Leesburg, VA, about an hour or so west of Washington, D.C. We sell hand-painted furniture, several lines of paint for your next DIY project and host fun painting classes and workshops. Stop by and see us the next time you are in town!



2 thoughts on “My Mantel Mantra: You Can Never Have Too Many! (Fireplace Optional)

  1. AWESOME! Not my colors for sure, but PERFECT for you! With Christmas coming, this space just screams for a wreath. What about a wreath made using shiny Christmas ball ornaments in the same colors as the pallet wood? It would look amazing!

  2. I love he way it’s turning out! Great place to hold books and magazines. You can just hang a swag of garland and change it with the seasons. Leaves for fall, snowflakes for Christmas, etc. Love mantles. Great way to showcase YOU! Have a great day! Koko:)

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